Why air our dirty laundry for the rest of the world to see, we wondered.
And then today happened. More and more details surfaced by the hour, each one seeming to be more salacious than the one that preceded it. The icing on the cake is Chris De Luca's article that will be in your morning editions.
After reading this, we feel comfortable putting all the cards on the table.
"''When people wish the worst on people, you have to be careful because the baseball gods are going to get you,'' Guillen said. ''He was not asking just for my job, he was asking for thousands and thousands of people's jobs over the years. I'm not going to say I will get the last laugh because I will get fired from this job. But the day I get fired is the day I lose interest in this game.
''Am I enjoying this? Yes, because he tried to make my life miserable. He did everything in his power to make my life go the wrong way, but he didn't make me miserable because I don't believe him. Maybe if somebody else wrote that stuff about me, then I would put attention on it. And that's what he wanted. He wanted attention. He has to thank me because I gave him a lot of [stuff] to work with. I know I helped him the last four years to make his money, and, obviously, he did not help me at all to make my money.''
Guillen's words are not surprising considering the long-running war of words between the White Sox manager and recently-departed columnist. But it's what De Luca writes next is far more telling, remarkably candid and like nothing I can recall seeing in a paper in a long time:
"Mariotti spent the better part of his first day divorced from the Sun-Times acting like a scorned lover. He wants you to believe there was a greater principle involved -- one that somehow loomed larger than his ego. He wants you to believe that newspapers -- specifically the two biggest ones in Chicago -- are dying.
Once again, Mariotti was playing fast and loose with the facts."
After a short detour that brings us the triumphant words of Hawk Harrelson, De Luca continues:
"The Sun-Times was a vibrant, relevant newspaper long before Mariotti arrived 17 years ago. It remains one today. The Sun-Times has built its reputation as being a bulldog covering the city and being the No. 1 source for sports and entertainment coverage. You want to know about the Cubs, Sox, Bears, Bulls or Blackhawks, you read the Sun-Times -- either off the rack or on the Internet.
Much to Mariotti's surprise, there are bigger names at the paper. Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper enjoy the kind of international following envied by journalists everywhere. Rick Telander has a national appeal Mariotti never could match. There are hardworking reporters, editors and photographers who come to work every day, do their jobs the right way and somehow remember they're just a small part of a very big team.
One page does not make a newspaper.
Telander weighed in on the news earlier in the day on the air with Charley Steiner, and from all accounts he doesn't seem to be shedding too many tears. In fact, he was so happy he could die -- or at least emulate a couple guys who died. Nevermind that for a moment, though.
I can't speak for the rest of my colleagues, but I am eternally grateful to De Luca for standing up for the rest of the staff who come into work each day, roll up their sleeves and strive to provide the best product they can to the readers. Most of them will never have a full page in a prime spot in the morning paper, but I've seen their hard work in action. People going the extra mile without demanding the extra pay is common fare. As a young journalist, there has never been a time when someone has declined to mentor me. Those are the scenes that can get washed away when a co-workers compares your company to the Titanic and those are the ones that De Luca alludes to.
"Not once in the last eight years can I recall seeing Mariotti in the Cubs' or Sox' clubhouse. With a press credential that allowed him access to every major sporting event and every major figure, he hasn't broken a single story in that time. He says Chicago is a weak market, the competitive edge gone. He has only himself to blame.
When Lou Piniella was hired by the Cubs, the Sun-Times reported it first. Mariotti had no role in that major story. He says the market has gone soft. If that's true, he played as big a role in the softening as anyone else.
He called his colleagues soft, forgetting we're the ones who had to face his targets on a daily basis. We were the ones who had to deal with the anger that he was too cowardly to face himself. We got the quotes that made up the bulk of his columns.
In spinning his story to the Chicago Tribune, Mariotti depicted the Sun-Times as the Titanic, and it was clear the self-proclaimed tough guy was knocking over the old women and children to be the first to jump ship.
''I'm a competitor, and I get the sense this marketplace doesn't compete,'' said Mariotti, who will remain a regular contestant on an ESPN game show.
''Probably the days of high-stakes competition in Chicago are over. To see what has happened in this business ... I don't want to go down with it.''
Stand-up guy to the end.
"Contestant" on an ESPN game show? Surely he means "panelist"? It's probably about this time that Mariotti would kindly ask Tony Reali to hit the mute button on this (what's the opposite of puff piece?), which coincidently, was promptly and flawlessly placed on our Web site right on time.
If at this point you're wondering if maybe this is just sour grapes from a fellow reporter, De Luca clinches it with the words of Sun-Times editor Michael Cooke:
"We wish Jay well and will miss him -- not personally, of course -- but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days,'' Cooke said. ''A paper, like a sports franchise, is something that moves into the future. Stars come and stars go, but the Sun-Times sports section was, is and will continue to be the best in the city.''
I fully expect the internets are absolutely going to explode when people wake up and read this. There is absolutely zero chance that this is anywhere close to being over.
"Around the Horn" should be interesting tomorrow. Buy or sell?
UPDATE: Roman Modrowski confirms why Mariotti really left.